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Did you know approximately 50% of breast cancer in women 50 years and older is detected by the woman herself? Check out these answers to common questions our Gynecologist, Dr. Emily Bienvenu, gets about breast cancer and it’s screenings.

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When should I start having a screening mammogram?

For women at average risk for breast cancer, screening mammograms are recommended every year beginning at age 40 and should continue at least until age 75.

Beyond age 75, the decision to discontinue should be based on a shared decision making process that includes a discussion of the woman’s health status and longevity with their physician.

How often should I have a clinical breast exam?

For women at average risk of breast cancer and who do not have symptoms, I recommend clinical breast exam every year starting at least by age 25.

Why is breast cancer screening important?

In the US, one in eight women will develop breast cancer by age 75; this is 12%. Breast cancer accounts for 30% of all new cases of cancer diagnosed in women.  Regular screening can help find cancer at an earlier and more curable stage.

How should I prepare for a mammogram and does it hurt?

The day of your test you should not wear powders, lotions or deodorants.  You will undress from the waist up and put on a gown. The pressure of the plates may make the breast ache, but this discomfort is brief and should not last longer than the duration of the exam.

Is screening breast self-examination recommended in women at average risk of breast cancer and what should I do if I notice a change in one of my breasts?

ACOG currently recommends breast self-awareness. You should promptly notify your health care provider if you experience any changes in your breasts. Breast self-awareness is your awareness of the normal appearance and feel of your breasts, so you are attuned to noticing a change or potential problem with your breasts. Potential problems or worrisome changes include pain, a mass, new nipple discharge, redness or skin changes. Approximately 50% of cases or breast cancer in women 50 years and older are detected by the women themselves.

To schedule an appointment for your annual mammogram, call (225) 246-9729 today!